AFROPUNK Joburg is back for a second year to Constitution Hill on 30 and 31 December 2018.
Come to AFROPUNK Joburg to feel the music, free your mind, and join the movement, whilst enjoying another incredible lineup of iconic artists and emerging talents at what is sure to be the party of the year. The performers will include Los Angeles’ future R&B superstars The Internet and Thundercat, experimental electronic music from Flying Lotus (debuting for the first time his 3D show on the African continent), and superb dance grooves from producer Kaytranada. Thandiswa will serve her hometown crowd with the revolutionary fusion of modern and traditional African sounds that has made her an enduring star since the 90’s. Hip-Hop rebellion will be served by the legendary Public Enemy, Mozambique’s Azagaia and Cape Town’s YoungstaCPT and Dope Saint Jude. Gqom will set AFROPUNK’s dance floor on fire when Johannesburg’s FAKA and Port Elizabeth hitmaker Moonchild Sanelly take to the stage. New Orleans bounce is represented by the one and only Big Freedia, whom you may know from Drake and Beyonce hits; and there will also be whimsical African superhero intonations from Nomisupasta, as well as ancestral, percussive passion by Soweto’s BCUC. More acts will be announced soon.
This year’s theme is THE PEOPLE RESIST, a call to action against racism, patriarchy and any form of hate.
AFROPUNK takes place annually in London, Paris, Brooklyn, Atlanta and Johannesburg. Launched in 2005, the festival revolves around an influential community of young people of all backgrounds, interested in music, art, film, lifestyle sports, fashion, photography and more. They are the influencers, creatives and tastemakers once seen as outsiders, but who now directly affect pop culture.
AFROPUNK made its African debut on 30 and 31 December 2017 as 20,000 people from all over South Africa and the world descended on Constitution Hill in Johannesburg to bring in the New Year in spectacular style.
Aside from major music talent from all over the globe, the festival encompasses Bites&Beats, Activism Row and the SpinThrift Market as well as the chance to earn tickets via the Earn a Ticket programme. In the build up to the event, there is also Battle of the Bands Joburg which seeks to unearth new music talent.
Though he was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, Louis Kevin Celestin made his musical name in Montreal, Quebec as a young producer/DJ (he began making music at 15) whose style and sound effortlessly crossed scenes and genres, from club and hip-hop, to house, R&B and global bass. He has made tracks for the likes of Alicia Keys, Chance The Rapper, Andrerson .Paak, Talib Kweli, The Internet, Craig David, and others, bringing back an old-school, soulful dance music production style. His album 99.9% won the 2016 Polaris Music Prize as the best album released by a Canadian artist. He will make you move.
The Internet – the Los Angeles-based, R&B/soul band fronted by Syd and Matt Martians – have cemented their position in the industry as a lauded collective experimenting with the sounds of soul – significantly deviating from hit-seeking commercial R&B with a mixture involving understated, poignant vocals and loose, live instrumentation. Formed in 2011, the six piece made their debut with the release of “Love Song – 1,” a tender, left-of-center ballad that had more in common with Meshell Ndegeocello than with the year’s pop-R&B hits by the likes of Kelly Rowland and Chris Brown. The band then released their debut LP, Purple Naked Ladies, a 14 track record that established the band amongst music lovers and critics alike. Follow-up Feel Good, highlighted by the loose disco groove “Dontcha,” arrived in September 2013 with a more organic, sometimes seemingly improvised approach. Two years later, The Internet released their most evolved album yet: Ego Death. The critically acclaimed and Grammy-nominated album has since appeared on numerous 2015 Best-Of lists including NPR, The Fader, Complex, LA Times and more. The record, with the addition of new members in bassist Patrick Paige II, guitarist Steve Lacy, drummer Christopher Allan Smith, and keyboardist Jameel Bruner, boasts refined and yet characteristically frank songwriting from Syd and consistent production by Martians. Fresh off performances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel LIVE and multiple internationally sold out shows, there seems to be no stopping this diversely talented band.
Steven Ellison, also known by his stage name Flying Lotus, is a two-time Grammy nominated multi-genre music producer, electronic musician, DJ, filmmaker, rapper, curator, label boss and TV star from Los Angeles, California.
Flying Lotus has released five studio albums — 1983 (2006), Los Angeles (2008), Cosmogramma (2010), Until the Quiet Comes (2012) and You’re Dead! (2014) — to critical acclaim. He has produced music for Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Thundercat, Wiz Khalifa, Thom Yorke and Erykah Badu as well as much of the bumper music on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. He has curated and hosted a radio station in Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V.
In 2017, he wrote the score for Blade Runnner Black Out 2022 (a Blade Runner 2049 short film prequel) directed by anime great Shinchiro Watanabe. He released his own debut feature film, “KUSO”, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has since gained a reputation as one of the most daring films ever made. He also launched his new live show “Flying Lotus in 3-D” at Los Angeles’ FYF Festival, before taking it across North America.
Thandiswa is one of the most influential South African Musicians of this generation. She began her career in 1998 with Bongo Maffin, one of the pioneering bands of Kwaito. After 6 award−winning albums with Bongo Maffin she ventured onto a solo career. Zabalaza (2004), her debut project, reached double platinum status and won numerous awards and her critically acclaimed second album ‘Ibokwe’ (2009) reached gold status in the first few weeks of its release. Her third solo studio album is Belede (2016) is a collection of reinterpretations of legendary South African Jazz and protest anthems from the 1950s and 1960s. Thandiswa’s selection is inspired by the music she listened to whilst growing up and her reframing of these classics serves as commentary on South Africa’s contemporary political landscape.
Thandisa’s music travels through the village into the ghetto and raises the roof in the city. Her compositions today include traditional Xhosa rhythms, mbaqanga, reggae, kwaito, house, funk and jazz. Through this, she straddles the urban and the rural, effortlessly melding the traditional with the modern. It is with this spirit that Thandiswa has performed all over the world at venues including: the FIFA 2010 World Cup Opening Ceremony, the Apollo Theatre, Radio City Hall, Womex, The Cannes Film Festival, Africa Express, and BBC World Music Awards. The Guardian referred to Thandiswa as “South Africa’s finest female contemporary singer.”
With 30 mixtapes and numerous EPs and accolades under his belt, YoungstaCPT is regarded as one of the most important South African emcees of this generation.
He describes his sounds as “Kaapstad”.“If you have ever been to Cape Town you can listen to any one of my CDs and you will understand me and the place I grew up in.”
“I am like your unofficial tour guide. I am not going to take you to Table Mountain with a cable car, but I will take you via another angle… a side that you have never been to before. I’ll give you the other view and perspective of where I am from.”
“To have so much content around you all the time while growing up in Cape Town, as a result my style is different, my tone is different because the slang that we use is different…I don’t sound like any other rapper.”
After ending 2017 with the biggest track of the summer with arguably the most memorable verse ‘please call future maybe…’ of the smash hit ‘Midnight Starring’ produced by DJ Maphorisa & DJ Tira featuring Distruction Boyz and Busiswa, 2018 has proved to be Moonchild Sanelly’s year, she spent the month of January in studio with Gorillaz front-man, Damon Albarn & February preparing for a super successful trip to SXSW, which saw her performing to new crowds from across the world. She showed up in Brisbane, Australia opening the Commonwealth Games as South Africa’s most progressive ambassador.
Moonchild Sanelly has been invited to perform as an opening act for Die Antwoord on their European tour in August 2018. The experience, the growth and the impact of her traveling will open people’s minds to how much talent there is in South Africa, something she always fights to achieve.
Thundercat is the alter ego of virtuosic bassist / singer Stephen Bruner. The LA native’s latest album, Drunk , is a 23-track epic journey into the often hilarious, sometimes dark mind of the Grammy winner and finds a few of his friends joining him along the way including Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Wiz Khalifa, Kamasi Washington and Brainfeeder mastermind Flying Lotus . The album was cited in countless ” Best of 2017 ” lists and was named the ” BBC 6 Music Recommends Album of the Year 2017,” with word traveling to late night TV bookers who invited him to perform cuts on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
In addition to Drunk , Thundercat has released two other critically acclaimed full length albums on Brainfeeder – The Golden Age of Apocalypse (2011) and Apocalypse (2013) – as well as 2015 mini-album The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam . He has also made outstanding contributions to landmark albums by Kamasi Washington ( The Epic ) and Kendrick Lamar ( To Pimp A Butterfly and DAMN ). His work on T PAB netted him his first Grammy in 2016 for standout track “These Walls”. Aside from his recording prowess he’s come to establish himself as one of the most exciting and virtuosic talents in the live world; in the past year he’s graced major stages like Coachella and G lastonbury as well as high profile slots at the Hollywood Bowl and several global headline runs, including a memorable sold out show at New York’s Irving Park where Dave Chappelle made an impromptu appearance as his hype man.
It’s been a long time coming: Bruner found his instrument at the age of 4. That made him a late-bloomer in the house of Ronald Bruner, Sr., who drummed with the Temptations among others. His first bass was a black Harmony, and he practiced to the Ninja Turtles soundtrack until pops played him Jaco Pastorius. He joined thrash legends Suicidal Tendencies as a teenager, and spent road and studio time with everyone from Stanley Clarke to Leon Ware , Snoop Dogg and Erykah Badu . Eventually the name Thundercat stuck, a reference to the cartoon he’s loved since childhood and an extension of Bruner’s wide-eyed, vibrant, often superhuman approach to his craft.
Public Enemy is one of the most important and influential hip-hop groups of all-time. Representing the New York City suburb of Strong Island, the group – led by its dominant MC, Chuck D – spoke truth to American white power, while preaching black unity and liberation over beats constructed by the might Bomb Squad. Heavy, noisy and cerebral tracks like “Bring the Noise,” “Don’t Believe the Hype,” “Welcome to the Terrordome,” “Fight the Power” and “Can’t Truss It,” among many, brought Public Enemy critical and commercial acclaim, and an audience of not only hip-hop heads, but punk rock fans as well. (In this, they are one of AFROPUNK’s cornerstone artists.) In 2013, Public Enemy was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, one of only five rap/hip-hop artists to earn that distinction.
Big Freedia, known as the Queen of Bounce, is a New Orleans-based rapper and ambassador of Bounce music. After dominating the New Orleans club scene for over a decade, Big Freedia is now bringing the Bounce movement to a world-wide stage with her hit reality show, Big Freedia Bounces Back on Fuse TV in the US and on OUTtv in Europe, Canada, and South Africa. The weekly docu-series, now in its sixth season, follows the life of a choirboy turned Bounce rapper and remains the highest rated original series on Fuse. In 2016, Freedia was featured on Beyoncé’s Grammy-winning single, “Formation.”
Freedia’s first LP, “Just Be Free” was praised by Rolling Stone as one of the ‘best electronic releases’ and was critically acclaimed in outlets such as Pitchfork, SPIN, USA Today, and Consequence of Sound. Beyond the Beyoncé collaboration, many artists have reached out to collaborate with Freedia, ranging from Sia, Elliphant, Diplo, The Postal Service, DJ Snake, Matt & Kim, Mannie Fresh, and Sylvan Esso.
FAKA, a cultural movement established by Fela Gucci and Desire Marea, has come to represent more than the “performance art duo” descriptor that has defined the collective since their inception in 2015.
The artists explore a combination of mediums ranging from sound, live performance, literature, video and photography, to create an eclectic aesthetic with which they express their ideas about themes central to their experience as black queer bodies navigating the cis-hetero-patriarchy in post-colonial Africa.
The collective debuted at the BubblegumClubbb Nights held at the Hazard Gallery in 2015, where they presented “#Wait Lorraine: A Wemmer Pan-African Introduction to Siyakaka Feminism”. In the same year, they released their popular ode to Brenda Fassie, a video piece titled “From A Distance”. The following year (2016) was defined by the duo’s release of the Bottoms Revenge EP, a collection of Ancestral Gqom-Gospel sounds, as well as a much-talked-about live installation of “The Factory” at Stevenson Gallery’s SEX show.
Their hybridised mode of practice and challenging subject matter as artists has lead them to being invited to perform at various international festivals – such as the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2016); Unsound Festival Poland (2016); FLOW Festival (2017), and Digging the Global South (2017) amongst many others.
In October 2017, FAKA released their much anticipated sophomore EP titled “Amaqhawe”, a three track offering that “explores the intricacies of love and romance within the black queer experience, with songs touching on everything from self-love, unrequited love, childhood love and transactional love.”
Nomisupasta was born in 1985, in a Soweto that was ablaze with the hope of freedom. The third daughter of a school teacher and a journalist, both her parents were Pan Africanists who were active in politics. Her mother, Belede, was inspiring black youths in Soweto high schools to never lose hope in the promise of freedom while her journalist father wrote articles that not only exposed the atrocities of the apartheid regime, but also sought to inspire a despondent black populous to believe in themselves and their power.
Listening to Nomisupasta’s lyrics, it is clear her upbringing was loaded with Azanian ideas. Her lyrics are not only political however, they are also whimsical, playful, mischievous and really capture the essence of who she is, a playful jovial character, unafraid to speak truth and bold to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Nomisupasta’s sound on her first album is primarily constructed by producer/“sound architect”, 37 MPH. Together they created a sound that is pleasantly surprising and has a distinct newness and originality. Perhaps it’s the fusion of traditional Xhosa instruments with commercial drum ‘n bass, perhaps it’s the cheekiness of the lyrics. It’s the meeting of two great African artists, enjoying freedom, living in the free world, and creating their space in music. The album won her the Best Adult African Alternative at the 16th Annual South African Music Awards.
From the mountains of Namaacha, in Mozambique, comes one of the most relevant and poignant MCs of Southern Africa. Azagaia is revolutionary, political and an avid critic of the Mozambican government. He has been censored, boycotted and even he was imprisoned on false drug charges. But the fact is that he is the voice of the young generation and respected all over the country. The Brazilian edition of Rolling
Stone called him a “hero of the people” and in many ways he is the only voice of opposition.
His latest single “MIR – Música de Intervenção Rápida” (Rapid Intervention Music) was written after the last demonstration of the veterans of war that was brutally ended by the Mozambican police. The Minister of Justice responded to the song saying that sometimes the Human Rights can be violated to protect “higher interests”.
His second album Cubaliwa is a word of the language Masena, meaning birth or being born, spoken in the central region of Mozambique, Manica and Sofala, the latter which is known as one of the cradles of the resistance in Mozambique, where names that emerged in the ’60s spearheaded social organizations, and later policies, responsible for the movement that won the Independence. Cubaliwa is also a word of
the language Ronga, and with a similar meaning in the languages Changana and Xitsua; means writing or it is written.
This summarizes the concept of his second album, it is a call to change mentalities and the need for each Mozambican to be born again, to be more open, hard-working, to be a listener and culturally rooted, to be less corruptible, to be free from prejudice as racism, tribalism and social classicism; to be able to manage the economic resources of their country in a more human perspective and not only towards profit. This change can only happen through Education; hence the need to pick and value what is written by Mozambicans and all who contribute to the global knowledge.
Backed by the Os Cortadores de Lenha who features some of the finest musicians in the country, they lay the foundation for Azagaia’s hard-hitting lyrics and charismatic stage persona to leave the audience in raptures.
Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC) is a live music-performing band from Soweto, South Africa. Our music derives from a blend of genres across the ages. “We draw inspiration from indigenous music that is not exposed in the mainstream. We sing ritual songs, around the fire hood songs; shebeen songs, church songs and we infuse them with raps and a rock and roll attitude. We always aim for a timeless, honest and traditional/ ritualistic sound. The music should always resonate with the spirituality, the history and the future of the people.”
Early 2014 BCUC recorded their first live album, The Healer, at the SABC Studios. This was released via soundcloud.com/bcucband in 2014. This album is the first among 4 EPs released by BCUC.
The band is made out of 7 band members, Jovi (lead singer, percussions), Kgomotso (backing vocals, percussions), Hloni (raps, ad libs, percussions), Luja (raps, backing vocals, marching drum), Cheex (congas), Skhumbuzo (bass drum) and currently we are playing with a session bass guitarist, Mosebetsi.
BCUC takes audiences along on an intriguing, epic, musical journey, sharing our thought-provoking views of modern South Africa. “We challenge the harsh realities of the voiceless, especially the plight of the people at the bottom of the social food chain. We tap into the spirit world of our ancestors who inspire us. Our Africa is not poor, but rich in tradition, rituals and beliefs.”
Highlights so far of BCUC’s musical journey are performances at Oppikoppi 2015, 2014 and 2013. MTN Bushfire 2015, Capital Craft Beer Festival, Rise and Shine, Drum Beat Concert, Rocking the Daisies (CT), Smoking Dragon Festival 2014 (KZN), Splashy Fen, Park Acoustics (PTA) and pllaying for over 20k people at Etnosur 2013 and 2016 (Spain), Festival Mundial Tilburg and Into the Great Wide Open (Netherlands). Meiliepop (South Africa). Balcony TV (JHB South Africa). Roots Open Air (Amsterdam). (Soweto), Soweto Arts and Craft Fair (Soweto Theatre), Campus Invasion (Pretoria), Brickfields Concert (Johannesburg), Fete de la Musique (Johannesburg).
DOPE SAINT JUDE
Catherine Saint Jude Pretorius was born in Cape Town South Africa. She studied Politics at the University of Cape Town. In 2011 she started South Africa’s first documented drag king troupe, performing as Saint Dude.
In 2013, having learnt about performance through drag, she left the group to learn sound production and begin a career as Dope Saint Jude. In the span of less than 2 year, Saint Jude has rapidly gained international popularity for her ability to speak to various audiences through the Medium of hip-hop.
An artist constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation in South African hip hop, Dope Saint Jude is an artist on the rise. Her dynamic sound production, lyricism and performance have gained her international popularity and seen her perform in Europe, the USA and Africa.
Dope Saint Jude’s unique style speaks to audiences interested in the intersection of hip hop, queerness, feminism and bad-assery. In 2016 she released her debut self-produced EP « Reimagine ».